November was an unusual month for me. We had not one but TWO vacations! My husband and I went to Mazatlan with my parents and their friends for the first week of November. A bit later, the husband, kids and my MIL went to Cancun for Thanksgiving week. Both locations are coastal, beautiful and about as different as night and day.
Mazatlan seems to be a relatively sleepy seaside town (perfect for lounging and really relaxing) on the verge of massive commercialization and larger scale tourism. Cancun is tourism central, filled with enormous all-inclusive resorts and a mind-boggling assortment of tours and excursions. I liked them both for different reasons and would return to either.
One striking similarity in both locales is the alcohol culture. Hospitality employees and fellow tourists were either talking about drinking or drinking 24/7. I’ll be the first to admit, it was pretty overwhelming. Stores & galleries offer tequila upon entering, restaurants were pouring free alcohol to accompany meals and our Cancun all-inclusive resort provided unlimited hard liquor in our room. There were tequila and mezcal tastings and Mayan rituals with alcohol. Nothing like having alcohol literally shoved in my face while doing my very best to stay sober. I did, by the way, and today marks day 493 of my hard-earned sobriety. Waiters were dumbfounded when I turned margaritas and shots away… Could I be the only sober adult on vacation? Seems unlikely, but you wouldn’t know it from their reactions.
There were two issues that really cemented my desire not to drink. The first took me by surprise almost immediately upon arriving in Mazatlan. My parents and their friends were out of control! I’m talking folks in their 70s (in varying degrees of physical shape and general health) being so drunk they were stumbling and falling down on cobblestone streets and around a pool. I felt like I was babysitting, and it really pissed me off! My husband drank pretty heavily the first night, because I kept giving him the drinks the waiters were insisting I have, but he ended up playing camp counselor with me most of the rest of the week. My anxiety was on high alert – I couldn’t let these folks get hurt (yes, I know this is self-imposed, but if you have real anxiety, you know exactly what I mean). These days and evenings of wrangling drunk seniors really took the fun out of my vacation. I don’t want to be those people.
The second issue slapped me in the face HARD. On one of our last days in Cancun, my husband drank too much, on top of being physically exhausted, and was not the best version of himself. Nothing dramatic, just mouthy and rude to me, definitely not his norm. I found myself getting incredibly mad at him and then came the epiphany: I had done this TO HIM more times than I could count. How could I be mad at him for one night of stupidity when I had been a drunken ass for years? My heart broke on the spot and I swore to myself and the Universe that I would NEVER drink again.
Whether I am at home or in another country, each day is a learning process. People, ideas and realities are revealed in their own way. I’m finally paying attention.